Exclusive: MGM's James Bond Follows Superman Model

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While gossip columns rotate unlikely celebrities Ewan McGregor, Colin Farrell and Russell Crowe onto the heir apparent James Bond thrown, MGM's true intentions appear in focus with Warner Brothers' Superman.

UK (November 16, 2004)  According to a gossip columnist report in Knight Ridder Newspapers, Moulin Rouge actor Ewan McGregor is the leading candidate to take over the title role in MGM's James Bond film franchise.

McGregor is the latest in a growing list of unsubstantiated gossip column rumors linking celebrity names to the Bond role left vacant by the deterioration of the interest in former franchise star Pierce Brosnan by producers at Eon Productions, allegedly due to Brosnan's age (51).

In the rush to make headlines, celebrities scooped as the next Bond have included Pirates of the Caribbean actor Orlando Bloom, Cold Mountain actor Jude Law, Mission Impossible II actor Dougray Scott, and Nip/Tuck actor Julian McMahon.

Although the celebrity name dropping makes for good headlines, the truth of the casting process to name the new James Bond may be best reflected by examining the similar process undergone for Warner Brothers' high profile Superman feature Man of Steel.

Superman casting rumors, often sharing the headlines with the Bond casting rumors, labeled such actors as Law, National Treasure actor Nicholas Cage, That Seventies Show actor Ashton Kutcher, Pearl Harbor actor Josh Hartnett, and Passion of the Christ actor James Caviezel as ready to take over the role left vacant in the movies since Christopher Reeve's last stint 1987.

The Superman casting rumors spawned casino betting odds on the various contenders, allowing consumers to wager on who they expected would land the role.

Ultimately though the role of Superman was awarded to unknown actor Brandon Routh and the bookmakers laughed all the way to the bank having never publicized their odds to the public on the long time behind the scenes frontrunner.

Bookmakers may be hedging their bets in similar fashion in offering odds on actors who could end up as the next James Bond.

Industry insiders report that the selection for the new Bond has been focused to X-Men actor Hugh Jackman, Hulk actor Eric Bana, My Fractured Life actor Rikki Lee Travolta, Highlander actor Adrian Paul, and Derailed actor Clive Owen. 

Similar to how odds on Routh were not publicized to the public, bets are not being openly solicited for two of the short list contenders. The other four viable contenders are buried in the odds behind trendy celebrity names that are believed to not actually be in consideration for the role.

Even Brosnan has developed a wicked sense of humor regarding public interest in the Bond casting process since his dismissal from the role. He has jokingly endorsing such unlikely actors as teenaged Harry Potter actor Daniel Radcliff and diminutive 5'7 Minority Report actor Colin Farrell as his heir apparent and watched the betting odds fluctuate in response.

Questionable names paraded through the columns of gossip writers turned amateur casting agents include My Best Friend's Wedding actor Rupert Everett, Gladiator actor Russell Crowe, rapper Eminem, singer Robbie Williams, and music mogul Sean Puff Daddy Combs.
 
Source: Timothy McKinney, feature reporter

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